Potential Strong Storms Saturday Night and Sunday - KMSP-TV

Potential Strong Storms Saturday Night and Sunday

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A slight risk of severe weather has been issued for much of central and southern Minnesota leaving the metro area on the northeastern fringe of the area of most concern by the Storm Prediction Center.

This would bring the potential for large hail, damaging winds, and isolated tornadoes back to much of our home. But with the current state of the atmosphere, chances for anything more than one or two isolated severe storms seems unlikely. The more likely scenario is plain old thunderstorms that produce very heavy rain and flash flooding. Here’s why… this evening and tonight, there will be a “river” of air around 5000 feet above the surface. We call this river of air the Low Level Jet (LLJ). It is very similar to the jet stream at the very tops of the atmosphere that is the overall steering current, but the LLJ works a little differently. Think of it like a fire hose… it is almost always pointing from south to north, transporting a HUGE amount of moisture and warm air northward just like a hose would. This river eventually leads to thunderstorm development. Well, when thunderstorms have a nearly endless supply of moisture getting pumped into them, they can be very efficient rain producers dropping 2, 3, or even 4 inches of rain an hour. Here is where the general location of this “river” (the Low Level Jet) tonight…

It extends from north Texas all the way to central and southern Minnesota. Notice the colors… the reds indicating sustained winds of 50 to 70 knots!! That means that winds at 5000 feet above the surface will be moving from 60 to 85mph!!! That’s one REALLY strong fire hose!! Now, because winds are traveling that fast just above the surface, the likeliest severe weather component tonight will be strong damaging winds as thunderstorms can harness these powerful winds and push them down to the surface. But again, even that scenario is pretty unlikely as most of the storms that can do this will stay to our south in Nebraska and Iowa. That being said, it never hurts to be prepared so stay sky aware!

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